Saturday, September 27, 2008

We're doomed, you hear me? Doomed

"Pennies From Heaven" - Louis Prima

It occurred to me today that I never got around to posting my most recent column, but since it's actually about a fortnight old I won't go to the trouble to record myself reading it. Instead I offer you an appropriately ironic Louis Prima song.

That said, the column is still somewhat relevant. It's about the economy and the fact that this sucker's going down, to use a Bushism. You have to hand it to Bushy in that he's not one to mince words. I have a slight suspicion that he's become a better president since everyone stopped listening to him. He's straight-talking and doesn't really give a toss what his party tells him to do. That's the president I wanted in freaking 2000.

But I'm still not keen to go with him on the $700 billion deal. Am I the only one who really, really, really hates this idea? So far, this is how I understand it: There were a load of guys who ridiculously misspent their investors' money. But because those guys threw away so much money, that makes them more important than everyone else in the world. So now, every man, woman and child in the United States is expected to hand over $3,300 to said jackasses, no questions asked.

I think Rhodri off Coal House put it best when he said: "I don't like piggies."

And I don't like saving their asses with no-strings-attached schemes that no one is sure will actually work. How exactly is it supposed to work, by the way? As far as I can tell, we want to give them shitloads of money so they can go back to doing exactly what they were doing before.

"Ooh, you were so close to fucking the world, but you ran out of cash. Here, take $700 billion. Try again."

Someone please leave a comment to help me see how I'm totally misinterpreting this and it is, in fact, genius. Because at present all I can see is a great sea of fuckery.

Here's the thing I think about all the time: Does anyone remember how we won the Cold War?

Effectively, through the arms race and other activities, we duped the Soviets into spending so much money that their economy caught on fire. Oh, how we laughed when they were using wheelbarrow loads of roubles to buy bread.

Now the United States is sitting on a debt that is so massive and so fast growing that any figure is instantly inaccurate seconds after writing it down. And yet we're chomping at the bit to blindly handover $700 billion to people who have a track record of making bad decisions with money.

And here's the best part: We will have to borrow that money to give it away. The United States does not have $700 billion to give away. It will need to borrow from foreign investors to give to Wall Street investors. Boy howdy, if being a slave to foreign oil is shitty, think how much fun it will be when we owe our souls to China.

I know I'm going a bit nuts here and completely wandering away from the sort of thing you've come to expect from this blog, but Jesus Joseph and Mary this is fucked. It's like the world is suddenly being run by me at age 17.

I had $5 in my checking account just a week before homecoming and Eric happened to see my chequebook.

"Uhm, do you need to borrow some money for homecoming?" he offered.

"No, dude. Check it out," I said and wrote a 0 behind the 5. "See, now I've got $50. Everything's fine."

My checking account was shortly thereafter forcibly closed by the bank. But apparently I am qualified to be treasury secretary. Indeed, why don't we just do what I did? It's just as stupid an idea. Instead of giving financial fucktards $700 billion that we don't actually have, let's just write a law requiring every bank in the land to add a zero to the balance of every American's checking account.

Only got $320 in your account? Now you've got $3,200, friend! Go out and spend your money! Keep America rolling. Purchasing is patriotic.

Before moving to Britain I used to regularly panic that this sort of thing would happen and it would somehow trap me in America. That I would not be able to live out my dream of living in the UK because the dollar's only legitimate value would be as a cape for mice. I am trying to take solace in the fact that I am here now and that British banks aren't quite in as bad shape. But the thing that I conveniently forgot in my Must Escape To Wales Before It's Too Late scenarios is that when the economy goes bad, it's those bloody foreigners who feel it first.

So, this week the British government announced that they will soon be collecting my biometric information, so as to make it so much easier to round us all up and put us on boats in the Solent to be used as defences against potential invading French (a).

The only plus side to all this is getting to see if I was right about the inherent weakness of the European Union. I have long predicted that within 50 years of the introduction of a common currency, national differences will rift the EU to the point that, for all intents and purposes, it will cease to be. I have thought that legitimately challenging economic times could be the spark.

Those times are nigh. Or, in some cases, they are here. Ireland is now officially in recession. I find that particularly sad. After dramatically changing the dynamic in the British Isles, if not Western Europe, and (I believe) serving as the primary catalyst to ending The Troubles, the Celtic Tiger is dead. It's worth noting, I think, that this coincides with increasing Euro-scepticism among the Irish.

Bah. If anyone needs me, I'll be hiding under my bed. Weeping quietly to myself.

(a)That's what the British did to French prisoners of wars in the Napoleonic Wars


Anonymous said...

What is sad is that some people don't seem to realize just what the problem is and want this policy to go into effect immediately. What a load of tosh.

The only people who are affected by the Stock Market crash and company bankruptcies are the employees who were laid off and all the rich people in congress.

I say we let the Stock Market struggle and fix itself as it will.

Huw said...

I spent about 5 months of my life working at an investment bank. I didn't have a clue what was going on for that entire time, but this was never revealed as the volume of work that landed on my desk never really amounted to more than about 3 hours work at most, and the rest of my day was spent pretending to be busy, so no-one thought to get rid of me.

Looking back, I can't help but wonder if everyone else there was pretending they knew what they should be doing too.